fix spring/self command


fix ID group-ID spring/self K dir
  • ID, group-ID are documented in fix command
  • spring/self = style name of this fix command
  • K = spring constant (force/distance units)
  • dir = xyz, xy, xz, yz, x, y, or z (optional, default: xyz)


fix tether boundary-atoms spring/self 10.0
fix zrest  move spring/self 10.0 z


Apply a spring force independently to each atom in the group to tether it to its initial position. The initial position for each atom is its location at the time the fix command was issued. At each timestep, the magnitude of the force on each atom is -Kr, where r is the displacement of the atom from its current position to its initial position. The distance r correctly takes into account any crossings of periodic boundary by the atom since it was in its initial position.

With the (optional) dir flag, one can select in which direction the spring force is applied. By default, the restraint is applied in all directions, but it can be limited to the xy-, xz-, yz-plane and the x-, y-, or z-direction, thus restraining the atoms to a line or a plane, respectively.

Restart, fix_modify, output, run start/stop, minimize info:

This fix writes the original coordinates of tethered atoms to binary restart files, so that the spring effect will be the same in a restarted simulation. See the read_restart command for info on how to re-specify a fix in an input script that reads a restart file, so that the operation of the fix continues in an uninterrupted fashion.

The fix_modify energy option is supported by this fix to add the energy stored in the per-atom springs to the system’s potential energy as part of thermodynamic output.

The fix_modify respa option is supported by this fix. This allows to set at which level of the r-RESPA integrator the fix is adding its forces. Default is the outermost level.

This fix computes a global scalar which can be accessed by various output commands. The scalar is an energy which is the sum of the spring energy for each atom, where the per-atom energy is 0.5 * K * r^2. The scalar value calculated by this fix is “extensive”.

No parameter of this fix can be used with the start/stop keywords of the run command.

The forces due to this fix are imposed during an energy minimization, invoked by the minimize command.


If you want the per-atom spring energy to be included in the total potential energy of the system (the quantity being minimized), you MUST enable the fix_modify energy option for this fix.